Today we had Career Day at school and I had industrious plans, which you can read here. Snafus from the get go ensued, as the guest speakers physically present had been invited to a breakfast, which unbeknownst to me was in the library. It took quite a bit of encouragement to get the “project director,” one of our guidance counselors, to get the guests to finish and move on to classrooms where they were presenting. By 9:00, I was frantic, so I went ahead and called my first guest, Chrissy Hellyer, a Year 7 teacher from Taradale Intermediate School in Taradale, Napier, New Zealand. Chrissy had to get up at 3:00 a.m. to participate, and I can happily report she showed up webcam style complete in her “jarmies” as she called them, happy to help us out. Chrissy was all smiles as she described the differences in grade levels from the US vs. NZ. She talked about the job being a passion and one that is a calling to serve. Next we skyped Lisa Parisi of Long Island, NY (who declined to be on video before a morning shower!) and she talked about bringing in the newer tools to keep her and her kids excited, which is why she continues her career as a teacher. She described for us her global project of connecting through a collaborative wiki with a class from New Zealand so her kids could test misconceptions and theories about how things are different “down under.” The funniest story she shared was about the classes comparing the toilet flush to see if it spun in the bowl an opposite direction if one lived in the southern hemisphere. She said the classes compared notes on a lot of things, including gravity, but essentially came to the conclusion that the only real difference was the seasons. But what an AWESOME way to learn why the seasons are different. I wish I had thought to see if she had worked with Chrissy. Hindsight is always 20/20. I also wish I had thought to record it.
We changed sessions, and that is when Murphy’s Law kicked in. The internet was down district-wide, ending all plans to skype any of my network into other sessions, even though I had six people contacted, four of them scheduled. Oh well. My purpose for having different people from my network was two-fold. One, I didn’t have to worry about kids being bored by me, and two, these extra voices could talk about the diversity of jobs in education. My back up plan included a looping ppt containing pictures or screen shots of them in their work or element (Chrissy you are very obscure on the Interent!) I had put together this powerpoint that would loop while I was not in a skype conversation, and I wound up using it to talk about my area of education (library media) as well as all their different areas to the best of my knowledge. I even challenged these students to consider this career, and come back to make learning even better for future students.
Was I successful? I don’t know. I had shared my plans with my district media coordinator, and he came to observe. He witnessed all my snafus, like a minor late start and then after two video skype calls the Internet going down. He even worked diligently calling our district office to find out if the problem could be fixed or how long we would be down. His support really made me feel once again that I made the right choice in leaving my former school district (and family) to come to this one. His name is David Bell, and he is awesome!
But this incident reinforced what I’ve learned from previous presos—relying on the Internet is a crap shoot, and if you are using it for a live presentation, be sure to have a back-up plan or two! At least I haven’t had any of Wes Fryer’s problems like this and this. I do have comfort though in that he offers solutions to consider. Will I give up? Nah. Just plan better back up plans. I had thought yesterday to tell my skype presenters if they wanted to, they could make a three – five minute video of what they would share, and then send it to me to download, but that was probably too late notice as well. Oh well. My mantra is to “learn by doing.” I learned a lesson today.
Image: ‘internet down 🙁‘
Image: ‘Little case‘